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Africa, debt relief, international financial institutions, private investment, aid selectivity
Ben Leo is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and a member of the Center’s Advisory Group. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Copernicus.io, an Africa data analytics firm. Copernicus is a proprietary geospatial platform that provides reliable and representative data on almost any customizable geographic area across the African continent.
Until October 2016, Leo served as a CGD senior fellow. His research focused on the rapidly changing development finance environment, with a particular emphasis on private capital flows, infrastructure, and debt dynamics. In addition, he tested a range of new technological methods for collecting high-frequency information about citizens’ development priorities. His research has been cited in leading international and regional media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, Forbes, USA Today, Mail and Guardian, CNBC Africa, This Day, and Daily Nation.
Prior to CGD, Leo held a number of senior roles at the White House, US Treasury Department, the ONE Campaign, African Union, and Cisco Systems.
This module will examine the leading issues related to capital flows between the developed and developing worlds. It will cover the various types of official and private finance as well as the institutions and policies designed to manage and promote these flows. The first half considers development assistance from both the recipient and donor perspectives, as well as the changing roles of the IMF and the multilateral development banks. In the second half, the course explores the key issues in debt, private investment, and the financial sector. The course will stress policy-relevant issues and the presentation of analysis and information in a format used in real policymaking settings.
It’s the season for trade talks with Africa again. The annual AGOA Forum, which opens today, is one of those ideas that sound terrific: assemble all of the relevant U.S. and African policymakers to discuss ways of generating greater commerce. Last year the forum was in Nairobi; this year it’s two days in Washington and then three days in Kansas City (consistent with the administration’s food security focus).
This blog entry also appeared on the Huffington Post.
As the global economic crisis spread throughout the developing world in 2008, some of us waited for the next unfortunate phase for poor, debt vulnerable countries - the resumption of massive IMF lending. This is a movie that we’ve seen many times before. And we know the ending. Sadly, it’s less of a Hollywood ending and more of a Parisian tragedy.
It didn’t take long to get the IMF engine roaring.
Last week, the G-20 agriculture ministers meeting in Paris issued a communiqué calling for the World Food Programme to develop hedging strategies to purchase food. In a little-noticed section towards the end of a 24-page document, the ministers stated:
We invite the multilateral, regional and national development banks or agencies to further explore, in connection with the private sector as appropriate:
Development of hedging strategies that could help international humanitarian agencies, in particular WFP, to optimize food procurements and maximize the purchasing power of financial resources, building upon forward purchase… (Annex 5)